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THU €MSD Of TS« NBCBjCaAK YAISHHAVAS.                         195
content to demolish as the equivalent of Hinduism. So far Is this from being
lie case, that many of ikeir dogmas are not only of an eminently philosophical
character^ but are also much less repugnant to Catholic truth than either the
colourless abstractions of the Brahma Samaj? or the defiant materialism into
which the greater part of Europe is rapidly lapsing.
Thus their doctrine of salvation "by faith is thought by many scholars to ha Ye
been directly borrowed from, the Gospel; wMle another article in their ereed3
which is less known9 bat is equally striking in its emergence from ordinary
Hindu sentiment, is ihe continuance of conscious individual existence in a future
worid? when the highest reward of the good will be^ not extinction^ bat the en-
joyment  of the visible presence of the divinity, whom they have faithfully
served while on earth ; a state therefore absolutely identical with heaven, as our
theologians define it.   The one infinite and invisible God? who is the only real
existence, is, they maintain, the only proper object of man's devout contemplsir
tioB.  But as the incomprehensible is utterly beyond the reach of human faeultiess
He is partially manifested for our behoof in the "book of creation, in which
natural objects are the letters of the universal alphabet and express the senti-
ments of the Divine Author.   A printed page, however, conveys no meaning to
anyone but a scholar, and is liable to be misunderstood even by him ; so, toos
with the book of the world.   Whether the traditional scenes of Krishna's
adventures have been rightly determined is a matter of little COB sequence, if only
a visit to them excites the believer's religious enthusiasm.    The places are mere
symbols of no value in themselves; the idea they convey is the direct emanation
from the spirit of the author.   But it may be equally well expressed by different
types ; in the same way as two copies of a book may Be word for word ftte
same in sound and sense, though entirely different in appearance, one being
written in Nagari, the otter in English characters*   To enquire into the cause
of the diversity between the religious symbols adopted by different nationali-
ties may be aa interesting study, but is not one that can affect the basis of faith.
And thus it matters- little whether BMh4 and Krishna were ever real personages;
the mysteries of divine lore, -which they symbolic remain, though the symbol®
disappear j in the same way m a poem may have existed long before it was
committed to writing, and may be remembered long afbr the writing has been
destroyed.   He tnuncnptiQn is a relief to the mind ; but though obviously
•dvmntageoai cm the whole, still in minor points it may rather have ihe effect of
stereotyping error : for ao material form, however perfect and semi-divine, caa
ever be created -without contaiBing in itself an element of deception; its
appearance varies according to the point of view aad the distance from which.